Invariably, there are more capabilities to cultivate that we have time, attention, effort, energy and resources to advance.  Hence, we need to determine:

  • which capabilities to cultivate sooner rather than later
  • how quickly or slowly we are likely to be able to cultivate these capabilities
  • what resources will be required to cultivate each capability
  • the relative value that can be derived from different levels of investment in cultivating our capabilities

This requires us to estimate, assess and prioritise our capability cultivation investments.  In order to prioritise, an approach needs to be agreed for guiding the effort devoted to estimation and assessment.


The simplest approach to prioritisation is the use of a grid, mapping perceived value against estimated investment.  This establishes a grid where initiatives are clustered into zones such as:

  • low cost / high value
  • low cost / low value
  • high cost / low value
  • high cost / high value

This allows sequencing of the initiatives so that:

  1. some early wins can be pursued
  2. some important longer-term initiatives can started (the sooner they start, the sooner they finish)

The cost / value assessment provides a simple initial assessment as a first pass and only needs to be sufficient to form an initial program strategy / roadmap.


The investigation phase of an initiative will develop a business case with detailed estimates.  These will be undertaken according to the relative priority and timing of each initiative.

Hence, the estimate simply needs to be a rough-order-of-magnitude for each capability requiring investment, sufficient to understand the level of investment comparative to other capability investments.

This estimate should be complemented by an estimate of the effort to undertake the investigation / planning stage for the potential initial investigation and planning.


In order to estimate the investment required in developing each capability, there is a need to assess the nature of the capability gap and the potential approaches to addressing the gap.

The approach that we use is to explore the capability composition and determine which dimensions require attention, as shown in the following diagram.


This provides the basis for estimating the effort to address the gaps.


The final step is to sequence the initiatives, having determined:

  • the effort to pursue them
  • the value in pursuing them
  • the priority that should be given to them

This will enable the formulation of a capability development:

  • program plan
  • investment portfolio

Bringing it all together

As with each of the preceding steps, the further detail undertaken in this stage, may lead to iteration through previous steps, building a stronger shared understanding the endeavour being undertaken and the shared aspirations and goals being realised.  This may entail refinement of any of these elements.


Enterprise modeling

Applying the investment step to the undertaking of the articulating the enterprise transformation lifecycle on this site prompts attention to my effort:

  • in composing the content
  • in developing supporting diagrams

Little attention was required in relation to priorities, as there was a clear sequence in which each component would be developed.

Enterprise transformation lifecycle

The application of the capability step takes leaders from the articulation of the operating model to the development of the capability development program plan and investment portfolio.

This takes leaders through the completing the third step in the enterprise transformation lifecycle shown below.


Lifecycle links

In outlining the capability element of “bringing it all together”, an example has been provided for one of the key steps for any enterprise – developing a capability development program and plan.  This will emerge in many different forms and titles such as:

  • Business transformation strategy and roadmap
  • Digital transformation roadmap
  • One “Company”
  • Shaping our future
  • ….

As yet, there are no specific articles on this site that elaborate further on developing program strategies and plans.  One of the reasons for this is …

A program is an enterprise in its own right

In that regard, it then becomes possible to apply the enterprise transformation lifecycle to the program, ensuring that there is a clear, shared view and mature practices in relation to:

  • business model for programs
  • operating model for programs (such as MSP)
  • capabilities required to manage and deliver the program
  • investment support for addressing any program development and delivery capability gaps
  • program governance and assurance